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Alternative Fuels in Europe: A Mapping of Key Innovation Players

Green fuels

For all the progress towards decarbonization via electrification in various industries, fossil fuels are still the main energy source for the heavy industry and mobility sectors. Stakeholders are betting on alternative fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels to power the future of transportation and logistics. So, we wondered: what is the state of green fuels development in Europe? And who are the main players building the green fuel technologies of the future?

Alternative fuel solutions are those which serve, at least in part, as a substitute for fossil oil sources. The current directive recognises six types of alternative fuels, including zero-emission electricity and  hydrogen, renewable biofuels and biomass, as well as synthetic and paraffinic fuels, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas, for a transitional phase.

According to the European Commission’s long-term climate strategy for 2050, there’s no one alternative fuel that can completely replace the need for fossil fuels: we will likely need multiple green fuels, with different importance across each transport mode. 

Thus, the current green legislation in the EU includes strategies and targets for different alternative fuels. By 2030, the EU aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the transportation sector to at least 14%, including a minimum share of 3.5% of advanced biofuels (Ed.note crop-based biofuels are capped at a maximum of 7%). Meanwhile, the strategy for the hydrogen and decarbonized gas market comprises three phases. Between 2020-2025, the main objective is to install at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU and produce up to 1 million tons of renewable hydrogen. And by 2050, about a quarter of renewable energy is expected to go towards renewable hydrogen production.

In this transition, partnerships are key, whether between the enterprises and startups, with large oil and gas companies investing in emerging technologies; between the public and private sectors, as seen in various city-wide projects, or between member states, as they join forces to develop alternative fuel production and transportation infrastructure. 

Today, The Recursive prepared a list of the European startups and companies working on developing and delivering green fuels for the mobility and manufacturing sectors. 

We selected those hydrogen companies and biofuel companies that have “alternative fuel or fuel systems production” as a core activity, and which received the latest investment no later than 2018. We start with companies located in Central and Eastern Europe, and continue with other European companies, in no particular order.

Key green hydrogen innovation players in Europe

Company: Hydrogenera

Headquarters: Sofia, Bulgaria

Founding year: 2016

Activity: The company specializes in the research and development of technologies for hydrogen production. In the past two years, they have implemented over 80 projects in three different countries and integrated over 50 hydrogen systems in industrial enterprises and public buildings.

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Recent developments: At the beginning of the year, the company closed a €2M VC round to expand production capacities, acquire new equipment, and grow the team.


Company: Helbio

Headquarters: Patras, Greece

Founding year: 2002

Activity: Helbio is specialized in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of hydrogen and energy systems primarily from renewable sources, for industrial use or integrated with fuel cells for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) production.

Recent developments: They raised a Series A of €1.5M in 2019 and obtained subsequent grants totalling €200K.


Company: Mebius

Headquarters: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Founding year: 2009

Activity: The company specializes in the research and development of components, modules and assemblies for high and low-temperature PEM fuel cells.

Recent developments: They received a €150K seed stage funding from the EIT InnoEnergy in 2018.


Company: PowerUp Energy Technologies

Headquarters: Tallinn, Estonia

Founding year: 2016

Activity: The company produces fuel cell technology. PowerUP’s generators are based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells.

Recent developments: They received a seed stage $164K round in 2020 reaching a total funding of $500K.


Company: Hy2gen

Headquarters: Wiesbaden, Germany

Founding year: 2017

Activity: The company produces green hydrogen, green ammonia and hydrogen-based e-fuels.

Recent developments: At the beginning of 2022, the company received a €200M growth equity VC round to construct facilities in several geographies including Europe, producing green hydrogen-based fields.


Company: Bramble Energy

Headquarters: Crawley, United Kingdom

Founding year: 2016

Activity: The company designs and manufactures high-performance and scalable hydrogen fuel cell solutions.Their simplified design approach to fuel cells reduces the number of components in comparison to conventional fuel cells, thus reducing the cost and weight.

Recent developments: The company raised a Series B round of £35M at the start of 2022, to roll out its portable power products worldwide, as well as continue to develop its liquid cooled fuel cell stack capability.


Company: Ergosup

Headquarters: Malataverne, France

Founding year: 2012

Activity: Based on patented electrolysis technology, the company develops and commercializes solutions for the production and storage of green hydrogen. Their technology also makes it possible to offer high-pressure hydrogen production and refueling stations.

Recent developments: At the beginning of 2019, they raised a €11M Series B round.


Company: Technip Energies

Headquarters: Paris, France

Activity: The leading engineering and technology company working in the energy transition is involved in the production and distribution of multiple alternative fuels, from liquefied natural gas, to biofuels, blue hydrogen (low carbon), green hydrogen (zero carbon), blue ammonia (low carbon), and others. 

Recent developments: In 2021, they received a $100M late VC round from BPifrance.


Company: Sunfire

Headquarters: Dresden, Germany

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Founding year: 2010

Activity: They are a global leader for industrial electrolyzers, helping produce renewable hydrogen and Syngas as substitutes for fossil fuels. Their electrolyzers are based on alkaline and solid oxide (SOEC) technologies.

Recent developments: They raised a €86M Series D from investors in 2022.


Company: Lhyfe

Headquarters: Nantes, France

Founding year: 2017

Activity: They design, develop, and operate sites for the production of green hydrogen for mobility and industry.

Recent developments: Last year, they launched their initial public offering (IPO) on the regulated market of Euronext in Paris, raising €110 million.


Company: Green Hydrogen Systems

Headquarters: Kolding, Denmark

Founding year: 2007

Activity: The company designs and produces efficient, standardized, and modular electrolysers aimed at the production of green hydrogen with renewable energy.

Recent developments: The company announced its initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq Copenhagen in 2021, raising more than 1.2 billion.


Company: Everfuel

Headquarters: Herning, Denmark 

Founding year: 2019

Activity: Everfuel installs, owns, and operates electrolysers, placed in locations with both renewable energy production and hydrogen offtake. They also distribute hydrogen in the North-Western parts of Europe via their fleet of custom hydrogen trailers, and operate hydrogen refueling stations to sustain fleets of fuel-cell vehicles.

Recent developments: The public company received several grants in 2022, including from the Swedish Energy Agency, and a debt financing of €20.7M from the European Investment Bank in 2020.


Company: ITM Power

Headquarters: Sheffield, UK

Founding year: 2001

Activity: The company is one of the world leaders in green hydrogen systems, manufacturing PEM electrolysers which help decarbonise industry, heat, power, and mobility.

Recent developments: The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2004. They received a £250m post-IPO investment in 2021.


Company: Ceres

Headquarters: Horsham, UK

Founding year: 2001

Activity: The company licenses technology for developing fuel cells and stacks to global OEM partners. They are developing their Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) technology to produce green hydrogen at competitive prices.

Recent developments: The listed company received a post IPO equity round of £181M in 2021. They have recently signed an agreement with Shell to deliver a megawatt SOEC demonstrator in 2023.


Key biofuel companies in Europe

Company: Globe Green Energy

Headquarters: Piaseczno, Poland

Founding year: 2020

Activity: The company has a cogeneration small scale system that can burn various raw and low-processed solid biomass, while producing lower carbon emission. It is also highly efficient in converting thermal energy into electricity.

Recent developments: They won a European grant of €700K European in 2021 to develop the small-scale cogeneration unit.


Company: XFuel

Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland

Founding year: 2010

Activity: XFuel developed patented technology that efficiently converts biomass waste (from manufacturing, forestry, and agriculture) into low-cost, drop-in fuel that has road, marine, and aviation applications. Its modular and scalable biorefineries can produce high-grade fuels at a comparable or lower price point to fossil-based fuels on the market.

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Recent developments: Last year, the company raised a seed stage of €8.2 million to lay the foundation for the commercialisation of its next-generation synthetic diesel, marine, and jet fuel technology.


Company: Synhelion

Headquarters: Lugano, Switzerland

Founding year: 2016

Activity: Synhelion uses solar energy to produce synthetic, solar fuels which can be blended into the existing fuel distribution network, being fully compatible with existing planes, cars, trucks, and ships.

Recent developments: They recently started the construction of the world’s first industrial plant to produce sustainable fuels using solar heat. The company raised a $23.7M late VC round at the end of last year.


Company: Perpetual Next

Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Founding year: 2019

Activity: The company works on carbon removal and conversion to renewable CO2, green gases, biochar, and green hydrogen.

Recent developments:: In 2022, they raised a Series A round of €320m from their majority shareholder and investor to acquire technology and work on carbon removal projects.


Company: Bloom Biorenewables

Headquarters: Marly, Switzerland

Founding year: 2017

Activity: With a proprietary process they deconstruct biomass, sourcing molecules from plants as alternatives for petroleum-based products. Their solutions are tailored for various industries from consumer goods to transportation.

Recent developments: They obtained a €2.5M grant at the beginning of 2022, after previous angel and seed rounds.


Company: Liquid Wind

Headquarters: Gothenburg, Sweden

Founding year: 2017

Activity: The company develops, finances, and manages commercial-scale eMethanol facilities to help accelerate carbon neutral transportation.

Recent developments:: Liquid Wind raised a €15.2M Series B round from VCs in 2022.


Company: SkyNRG

Headquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Founding year: 2017

Activity: SkyNRG is a global market leader for sustainable jet fuel. They produce SAF from sustainable feedstocks as a drop-in fuel (which can be blended with fossil jet fuel with no extra equipment needed). 

Recent developments: The bootstrapped company sourced, blended, and distributed sustainable aviation fuel to over 40 airlines and 50 corporations.



Headquarters: Karlsruhe, Germany

Founding year: 2016

Activity:  They produce e-kerosene from carbon dioxide capture and recycling, and renewable energy sources for the aviation industry.

Recent developments: They received a €6M grant at the end of 2022, after raising a Series A from VCs at the beginning of the year.


Company: ACT Commodities

Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Founding year: 2009

Activity: The company is a global provider of market-based sustainability solutions, including renewable fuels.

Recent developments: In 2021, the company received a secondary investment from Bridgepoint, raising its valuation at $1 billion.


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Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.